Ontario nurses getting up to $5,000 incentive pay to stay on the job

The Ontario government is giving eligible nurses a $5,000 payment to help incentivize them to stay on the job.

According to the government, the $763-million investment will help to retain nurses across the health sector and stabilize the current nursing workforce in Ontario. 

Eligible full-time nurses will receive a lump sum $5,000 payment, while eligible part-time and casual nurses will receive $5,000 in two installments. 

The money will be given to eligible nurses through their employer, the government said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic nurses have stayed on the front lines with remarkable dedication and selflessness as they care for our sick and most vulnerable Ontarians,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement Monday. “This investment will support the nurses we currently have so that Ontarians continue to have access to the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.”

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

According to the government, nurses eligible to receive the payment include nurses in hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, home and community care, primary care, mental health and addictions, emergency services, and corrections, as well as range of other community based and developmental services including youth justice. 

Nurses in a management or supervisory role who were redeployed to a direct patient care role during the pandemic will also qualify.

For part-time and casual nurses, to receive the first payment, they must be employed as of March 31, and to receive the second payment nurses must be employed on Sept. 1.

The announcement was immediately slammed by a collection of unions representing 85,000 nurses who labelled it as a “band air pay-as-you-vote gimmick.”

“Nurses across the province are angry at once again being thrown crumbs by this government, instead of meaningful solutions to the health staffing crisis,” Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare, said.

Nurse and health-care workers have been calling on the government to repeal Bill 124 – the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act — which has capped public sector salaries since 2019. 

Nursing unions say the $5,000 won’t retain and recruit nurses who are looking for “long-term predictability and support.” 

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